17 December 2014

Slow and steady

As I sit here with bits of gingerbread dough on my shirt (it gets messy baking with kids), I can't tell you how excited I am to be be almost finished M's gift.  Dragon (or dinosaur if you wish) leg and arm warmers.  They match his hat, the one I made several months back.  Anyhow, I think they're just adorable and I can't wait to see his face on Christmas morning!

I am hoping to get some crocheted tea towel hangers done up for a special lady, but this week is baking week for us, so that might be a tad ambitious.  Today is Gingerbread day.  Tomorrow and thereafter is for Yule logs (Bûche de Noel) and all our festive and traditional Christmas treats.  We work while listening to carols, or audio stories, which the kids just love.

Next week we'll get to the heavy cleaning and cooking - at least that which can be done ahead of time.  And all the last minute strings will (in theory) by tied up.  Goodness, it sounds so nice and organized on paper.  In reality, far from it.  The babies are sick - all three to varying degrees: barking coughs, runny noses, a fever, a sore throat or two.  Our humidifier is running non-stop, saline rinses are a daily routine, lots of fluids and lots of tea.  My house is a terrible mess, though (thank God!) I managed to wash the floors finally.

I don't know what my odds are for getting everything done, but we are working slowly as best we can.  I am reminded at various moment during the day to ease up, let go of a project, be mindfully present with the little ones more, and just slow down.  This is the theme of my life, it seems.  Slow down.  Always, and especially at this time of year, the pull to join in the busy dance going on all around is very strong.  But when I can disconnect for a period, it's easier to just let go.  Breathe.  Refocus.  Remember.  

PS - I wanted to include some photos of our kid spaces around the house.  (They were taken last week when the house was a little tidier, as you can see!)  Our kids just love them.  

Joining Ginny and friends for this week's Yarn Along.

10 December 2014

My babies and some of our Christmas preparations

I  keep having to remind myself to write in the blog.  It's become a once-a-week affair these days.  So many things to do and being done that I don't have the energy to maintain this space quite as efficiently.  It makes me sad because so many precious moments have slipped by without any note for posterity.  I treasure the times I have with the kids when they just fill me up with sunshine - especially when they're in a talking mood.  Oh my.  

J loves to chat with a willing listener.  She'll talk and talk and talk.  Sometimes she makes no sense.  Sometimes she's hilarious.  She has imaginary friends (the effect of hearing M's school stories) and they feature abundantly in her stories.  She loves to repeat the lessons (usually moral) or stories we read together during the day.  It's beautiful to listen to a 3 year old uttering profound truths.  And it's kind of, I don't know, comforting in a way to know that we can impact her life so profoundly. 

M is just gold.  That boy makes me laugh and cry at the same time.  He is so sweet inside that I can't help hugging him whenever I can.  He watches over his sisters very seriously whenever we are away, and it is comforting to know that they have such a gallant protector.  Of course, he does love to tease them too...  ;)

As for S, that little one never stops.  She's so different from the other two.  Mentally very organized - she that each thing has it's own place and likes to keep it there.  She loves to clean up, loves to follow instructions (even sometimes when she doesn't want to do it!), and loves to give kisses.  She has a special greeting for D when he comes home and for me when I come back from an errand.  It's like winning the lottery when she smiles and runs to your arms singing "Mama!".  

Next week is baking week for us.  Cookies, Yule logs, savoury pies, peppermint bark, sea salt chocolate caramels.  We have some favourites here, that's for sure!  And of course, then it's really down to the wire with cleaning, cooking, decorating, wrapping and such end of the line preparations. 

I am up to my elbows in yarn for now.  I am trying to finish with the Rapunzel hair hats (two more left).  Also, I have a gorgeous red scarf I am trying furiously to complete on time.  I've added a couple more projects (which of course I can't talk about), and so I doubt very much a day will go by where I am not crocheting.  I want so badly to whip up a warm pair of socks and a pair of dinosaur mittens for M to match his hat, but I am sceptical as to the probability of me finishing it all.  So they have question marks beside them on the list.  I'll keep going right to the end and just hope they're all done for Christmas.  :)

As for reading, that's absurd!  No books.  No time.  My hands aren't free to turn the pages.  :)  It's all yarn for me.  I would LOVE to read A Mother's Rule of Life.  Perhaps in the New Year?  It's on my Christmas list anyhow.  

Well, I must be off.  Lunch and dinner need making, and I have some yarn calling me...

Joining Ginny and friends for this week's Yarn Along.

3 December 2014

Christmas projects

A Christmas project complete.  Hurrah!  Only 997 more to go.  Just kidding.  It feels good to be finished with one.  Finally happy with the crown too.  (Hard to see in these photos... but she was so excited and jumpy that I had a hard time keeping her still for a photo op.)  

I do have 3 other hats that need finishing, But two of them are almost there.  The third I have yet to start.  Also I am planning a gorgeous red scarf.  All Christmas gifts.  Needing to be done by the 24th. For some reason I'm not so worried.  I feel like I'm motoring along with these projects!  (Hmm... I wonder if that will change?)  

I mentioned some wood burning would be happening and so it has!  I don't think this medallion (St. John the Evangelist) will take too much longer to finish, but that is a pity as I find it so soothing to sit quietly in the evenings gently burning lines into the soft face of wood.  The tool heats up enough to keep my perpetually cold hands nice and hot.  (In my books, wood burning is a winter art.  And perhaps rug making.  But I digress.)

I have been reading from a smorgasbord these days.  A little of Michael O'Brian's short stories for Advent, a little of Bishop Irenaius - he has some very practical and profound words on raising children - and a little Jane Austen.  I can't help but love her.  

And that is that.  Happy Wednesday!

Joining Ginny and friends for this week's Yarn Along.

26 November 2014

Yarn Along

Lots of yarn work on those Rapunzel hats (that's what I call them anyhow), but still haven't moved on to the flowers and crowns.  Should be starting that this week.  Also, I have one more hat to crochet.  Not much in the reading department, excepting bedtime stories to little ones.  The other day I read Tolstoy's Where Love Is, God Is.  A sweet story that I really want to read to the kids.  We have a very dear visitor from Lebanon coming this week, so I doubt much knitting, crocheting or crafting will be accomplished.  And I am just fine with that.  Such a dear, dear friend.

Joining Ginny and friends for this week's Yarn Along.

25 November 2014

Odds and ends

Yesterday I bought a coat.  It was on sale.  (Of course!)  My lovely sister-in law-is great with sales.  I depend on her for most of that stuff.  (I do not have the time or inclination to shop frequently... it's a nightmare with the kids anyhow!)  D was happy he didn't have to fork over an arm and a leg, and this coat is much warmer than my older, threadbare version.  (Hurray for wool!)  

Our kitchen has been busy this past week.  Oh so busy.  Bread, soup, spinach, fish with garlic, stuffed grape leaves...  But not much time to share, which makes me a little sad.  I love getting ideas and inspiration from others, and I feel it's important to share domestic ideas too!  Quotidian mysteries, indeed!  Right now we have a pot of vegetable soup simmering on the stove.  Just need to whip up a quick loaf to go with.

I have plans for a certain amount of wood burning this month or next.  It's a little last minute, so we'll see if I can squeeze it in somehow.  I love the smell of wood when the burning singes it.  Sweet, smoky and warm.  For me, it's a winter hobby.

I like Stephanie's idea of sharing her Christmas crafting each week.  Brilliant!  I hope to try it out too, but I'm already pretty lousy at getting on her more than once a week, so that might be a bit much.  I'll have to play it by ear.  I just love the idea though!

Our Christmas journey has started already.  More importantly than all the crafting going on, we've started preparing our hearts for the feast!  We've put out our Nativity crèche, which was given to me by a dear, dear friend who passed away a few years ago.  Every time I see them, I remember her smile, her loving heart, her helping hands, and all the blessings she brought into the lives of those around her.  I remember our time together teaching and preparing lessons.  I remember her tutoring.  I remember her gentleness.  I remember that sooner or later, we will all pass through the same portal.  And strangely, it inures me against the rampant commercialism during this time.  

Wishing you a happy Tuesday.  

19 November 2014

Yarn Along

It's that time of year.  Lots of projects being thought up and some started.  Lots of sewing; lots of yarn, a bit of wood and paint.  And pleasant thoughts of recipient to dispel the sense of being overwhelmed. 

Right now I am working on two more yarn hair wigs.  Right now, all you might see is brown.  I see flowers and crowns and lots of colour.  And hopefully they'll be finished on time!  

Also working on lining the finished hats.  With the cold snap we're in (read -20 Celsius) I have been forced to this in a hurry.  I stayed up last night almost until midnight measuring, cutting, sewing and pinning.  I managed to finish one, and the other four are all pinned up and just needing the lining sewed to the hat.  (The polar fleece is so soft and warm!)  

Currently reading From I-ville to You-ville with the kids.  It's such a wonderful book to talk about the virtues or even negative behaviours.  They love little Stubborn and his friend Serenity.  And so do D and I!  

Happy crafting to you!

Joining Ginny and friends for this week's Yarn Along.  

13 November 2014

Behind schedule!

I've been MIA online this past week.  So so much to do around here that it gets absorbing and *poof* time has flown.  This is, more or less, the story of my life.

What has been keeping me busy is schooling prep for the kids.  I've been trying to get some material prepared for reading in french.  We've been using the Montessori method up until now with great results.  Now that M is on his way with English, I've decided to add the French.  This means basically starting from scratch material-wise.  I've decided to use cursive letters to teach the letter sounds in French.  That way there's less confusion between languages?  I don't know.  It's all a little sketchy to me still.  I hope I don't completely confuse the poor boy.  (Wish me luck!)  

Anyhow.  I will be popping in here whenever I can, of course, but I suspect for the next two months that will be sporadic at best.  :(  Lots of Christmas plans too.  The Rapunzel hat I was working on is coming along.  I ran out of yarn for the hair, so I won't be able to thread all the hairs I had hoped.  Instead, I am crocheting a crown.  This is kind of a rough sample.  Not sure I like the crown as is.  Maybe add two more points?  I'll sew some colourful buttons at the end for "jewels".  J has no idea this is for her.  Now I have to do three more for my nieces...  

We are going away for the weekend, which means more bustle than usual.  Packing, cooking, preparing.  Why cooking?  Snacking keeps little kiddies quiet for a lot of the trip.  It also saves time not having to stop so much.  And money.  And we get healthy food.  Win win win.  Of course, you could just chalk it up to insanity.  I'd settle with that too.  

In the kitchen....

:: It looks like something bloody happened here.  But no.  Just beets.  Love 'em.  S and I are usually more than capable of polishing off a tray.  The others are lukewarm.  Fine by me!

:: Spinach pies.  Oh my.  Warm from the oven and they just can't be beat.  I have another big bunch that I'm supposed to make up for the road trip tomorrow.  Fingers crossed!

:: This was the last of our potted parsley for the year.  I am so glad we decided to do this balcony garden.  It was small, but nice.  

:: Chicken stir fry.  I've been trying to find ways to stretch meat meals more.  This is a keeper.  Only three chicken breasts and it fed 5 for two meals.  Mission accomplished!

Happy weekend!  (It's supposed to snow here.  Kids are ecstatic.)